By Michael Fleming
June, 2000- NEW YORK (Variety) - Sony Family Entertainment has acquired rights to Roman Dirge's cult comic ``Lenore'' for an animated film that will be scripted by Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson. The deal is worth a high six figure advance against a seven figure sum if the film is made.
Thompson's scripting credits include ``A Nightmare Before Christmas'' and ``Edward Scissorhands'' and Wilson's include ``Beetlejuice.'' Their last collaboration was ``The Addams Family'' So, despite this being a project developed for Sony Family Entertainment, the film is being conceived as a decidedly black comedy with heart.
Lenore of the title is a 10-year old girl who returns from the dead, primarily because she feels her family needs her. The tone, said Thompson, is much in line with that of ``South Park.''
``We are looking to appeal to adults as much as the sophisticated 10 year old,'' she said. ``Lenore means well, when, for instance, she tries to help out by taking the neighbor baby to the park. While she feeds the bird, the baby whines and she says, 'Oh, you want to feed them.' She puts the feed on the baby, and the birds begin pecking away.''
Though in the comic the child expired, he'll merely have a few holes put in him during the film, she said.
The upstart Sony Family Ent., which has kept its projects largely under wraps, wouldn't comment on the deal. While the subject matter sounds sinister for a family film shingle, ``Lenore'' has a lot in common with the stop-motion comedy ``A Nightmare Before Christmas.'' That film had such moments as Santa being stretched on a torture rack, and while Disney couldn't exactly figure out how to market the picture, it has done exceptionally well on video with kids who got the humor, Thompson said.